8 Things You Might Not Know About Ann Marie Gill at Cascade Valley Designs April 3, 2012

Greetings, dear friends!

We’re going to go a bit off the interior design path today, as I introduce you to a young woman who has impressed me from “Day 1”. (Although, if you’ve been joining me for long, you know I get “off track” on a fairly regular basis.)

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Ann Marie, my go-to resource for everything in the blogesphere! Now I know many of you talented bloggers do it all yourself! Trust me, I am thoroughly impressed! Yet, if nothing else, I’m keenly aware of my limitations and when to call the professionals!

When I decided to write a blog, I found it harder than one would think to find a bright, dependable person to help me through the process. Then, a friend referred me to Ann Marie. At first, I was concerned about working with someone out of town, but soon found that location was simply not an issue.

If you’ve been on the look-out for a smart, responsive and reasonably priced professional, to help you build or grow your blog, I highly recommend that you check out Ann Marie today!

So, here’s your chance to know this young lady, from the inside, out! Take it away, Ann Marie!

First of all, I want to thank Barbara for inviting me to post in this fabulous blog series. Although I am a Web Designer, not an Interior Designer (believe me, I need help in that department) I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the great “things” about each design blogger.

Barbara and I have been working together for a couple years now and it has been my pleasure to help her fulfill her vision of what The Treasured Home blog should look like. What she doesn’t know (until now) is that she has really helped me. My web design business has also grown over those 2 years and Barbara remains one of my favorite and top clients. She always has great ideas about what she wants to do next, always wants to improve her site and her readership and has a perfectionism that only another perfectionist like myself can admire and appreciate. Besides our working relationship, I think she is a wonderful person too.

Here we go…the 8 things you don’t know about me, which is funny because all of you reading probably do not know anything about me…so this will be fun!

1. My Favorite Past Job: Cruise Coordinator/Naturalist in Alaska and Mexico

From 1997 (2 years after college) through 2001, I worked in the most amazing job as a Cruise Coordinator/Naturalist for a small ship company based out of Seattle. The position was a little more involved than Julie McCoy’s job on the Love Boat – I was the shore excursion organizer, announcer, and the best part of all, the onboard Naturalist. Here I was, getting paid to stand on the ship’s bow in the middle of Southeast Alaska while narrating facts about humpback whales as they were bubblenet feeding or breaching and experiencing the most amazing glacier calvings with passengers who were on their dream trip of a lifetime. Those incredible memories and stories will stay with me forever. I was so lucky.

2. Romantic & Exotic Courtship

Besides working in Alaska, I also had the opportunity to work on the company’s inaugural cruise in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. That is where I met the man of my dreams, Chef Marshall. I always tell people I fell in love with his cooking first. For one dinner on board the cruise it took him 4 hours to prepare an unbelievable Chicken Poblano dish for all the guests. I tried that mouth watering dish and I just had to meet the man who created it. Chef Marshall continued to woo and wow me over the next few years and when we sailed in the British Virgin Islands he asked me to marry him. He buried a love note in a bottle which I stumbled upon while taking a walk with him along the breathtaking beach on Anagoda Island. We continued our tropical adventures by honeymooning in Kauai. This July will be our 10 year anniversary and we will be traveling back to where it all began in Cabo San Lucas.

3. Mr. Wonderful #2: My Husband = Great Dad + Wonderful Chef + Amazing Carpenter + Handsome Mountain Man

Yes I know Barbara always mentions her Mr. Wonderful, but my husband is a contender in that category. Marshall continues to make amazing meals for me even though he has changed careers from being a chef to a finished carpenter, but most importantly he is also an involved and loving father to our two daughters. As a companion in life he continues to joke around with me and make me laugh which at the end of the day is all we really need. He now owns his own finish carpentry business and creates beautiful trim work for high end homes in the Greater Seattle area. Our house has reaped the benefits of his talents as well.

4. My Girls: Eva (6) & Brooke (3)

We have 2 beautiful little girls who fill our day with laughter and excitement. Eva Marie is 6 years old and loves 1st grade mostly because she can socialize with her friends every day. She is learning to read quite well but her favorite and best subject is math. Eva also is becoming quite skilled in gymnastics – her strength and flexibility amazes me. Was I ever that limber? Brooke Lyn is 3 years old and is having a little tantrum right now as I type because she is not the happiest kid after a nap, but the rest of the time she is such a happy and joyful little girl who loves to look at books and chase our chickens in the back yard. Marshall and I feel so blessed to have these 2 beautiful girls in our lives but we are stopping at 2 kiddos. Our high-spirited active girls keep us on our toes and every day bring some sort of new parenting challenge. We decided we do not want to be outnumbered by our children. I think they would take over.

5. I Love My Job

Even though my college degree was in Psychology somehow I happily found myself down this path of Web Design. I started Cascade Valley Designs (Website Solutions for Small Businesses) in 2001 and started designing websites for a few clients while I worked full time – only because I enjoyed it so much. When Brooke was born 3 years ago I tried to focus on my business full time which allowed me to be home for my kiddos, avoid the horrible commutes around here, and be involved in a job I totally loved. Today my business is booming and if allowed, I would be helping my fantastic small business partners 24 hours a day. My design services include the full gamut: social media pages, logos, headers, emails, print materials and full fledged websites.

6. My Musical Background

Not even a lot of my adult friends know this fact about me – I was hugely involved in acting and singing in high school. Into the Woods and Grease were two of my favorite shows I was in. The experience taught me so much at that young age about responsibility, dedication, hard work and being part of a team. Even after graduating from high school, I thought that my future was in musical arts, but my interests took me in a different direction and the last musical I performed in was Jesus Christ Superstar in community theater during my junior year of college. Don’t get me wrong, I still have that little diva rock star inside of me. Someday I’ll release her again.

7. Business Community Involvement

Over the past year, I have become more involved in the business community of our small town. Becoming a recent member of the Duvall Chamber of Commerce has introduced me to local store front and home based business owners. Even though we only have a population of about 10,000 people between the 2 neighboring towns of Carnation and Duvall, I am amazed at the involvement of businesses and families in the community. The network of people are very loyal to each other here. One of my favorite companies is a mother and daughter owned web hosting company, Ovaleye. I recently completed a fun website for them at Ovaleye.tv where they provide videos that inspire and motivate small businesses. They even have a “Small Business do it Better” show where I was interviewed.

8. Rainy Wet Foothills of Seattle – I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

This winter, the Seattle area has sure lived up to it’s reputation. While the rest of the country had a heat wave about a month ago we were being drenched with heavy rain. Sure, it feels like it may rain here for 9 months straight but when the sun peeks through I have never seen a more beautiful place. I was born and raised in Sacramento, spent my college years in San Diego and lived in San Francisco for a few months, but there is no place I would rather be at this point in my life than beautiful Western Washington. The air is clean, the people are friendly and appreciating the outdoors is common. We live in a little pocket of heaven – in the Lake Marcel Community – where we play at the beautiful local lake in the summer time.

Thanks for letting me share a little about me.

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  1. Karena on April 3, 2012 at 6:11 am

    Barbara so good to meet Anne Marie. She is a very talented young woman with a fascinating background!! I wish her all the best as her business thrives.

    Art by Karena

  2. Diana Kotecki on April 3, 2012 at 9:02 am

    What an interesting lady! I love that she was a cruise director and now embraces her life with a husband, children and her stay-at-home job! I love her positive attitude. Since I am new to your blog this prompted me to go back and read your 8 things. It is great to get to know you a little better. Your children are beautiful and I really enjoy your blog!

  3. Jenn Donogh on April 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Thank you of for the shoutout Ann Marie for Ovaleye.tv- you did an awesome job putting that together for us!! I’m looking forward to seeing this inner rock star diva soon 🙂

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